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Old 12-02-2005, 04:41 PM   #1
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Want a Porsche, cant drive stick!

I finally graduated college 2 years ago and am in the market for a Boxster. Sad thing is I have really never learned to drive stick. I figure I cant just walk into my local Porsche dealer and expect them to teach me in a new Porsche. I moved away from everyone I know to take a job so I cant learn from a friend in the area. I dont really want to enroll in some kind of professional driving school or anything like that. Any ideas?

I was thinking that if I show them I am honestly interested in a Porsche, they might teach me with a demo.

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Old 12-02-2005, 05:07 PM   #2
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Do any rental companies still rent stick-shift econocars? I can't recall, but some of the less famous ones might do that for you.

I doubt you'll get the Porsche dealer to teach you how to drive stick.
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Old 12-02-2005, 05:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eslai
Do any rental companies still rent stick-shift econocars? I can't recall, but some of the less famous ones might do that for you.

I doubt you'll get the Porsche dealer to teach you how to drive stick.
You can rent a stick at most car rental places, but it's usually not an econo-car. The ones available in stick are mostly sports cars, especially convertible ones. Not too pricey. We rented an Eclipse with a stick a few years ago for about $50/day in Miami.

Learning stick isn't difficult if you don't "think" about it. Just get the basic mechanics and then "feel" it and you'll get the hang of it faster. Too much thinking messes you up.
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Old 12-02-2005, 06:21 PM   #4
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Reminds me of when I was teaching my son to drive stick. He was having a terrible time and I was too!

Then, I said, OK.

Close your eyes and just feel what I am about to tell you.

I then closed my eyes and just chatted about what I was feeling as I imagined the process of using the clutch and stick.

From then on, took about 5 minutes.

Of course, you need a very ver large parking lot that is very deserted

Take heart, it is really easy once you get over the first bump or two!
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Old 12-02-2005, 08:02 PM   #5
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Hope this will help you an understanding

http://www.10w40.com/individual/100186.asp
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Old 12-02-2005, 08:06 PM   #6
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I drove an automatic for ten years. Learning to drive stick was pretty difficult for me because my left foot was pretty much vestigial.

The way I teach people who have also come from an automatic background is as follows:

Go to a parking lot. Find level ground, where you can sit without your foot on the brake and still not roll away. Put the clutch in, put the car in first.

Now VERY SLOWLY start lifting off the clutch. Eventually you'll feel the engine start to tug at the car. This is the "engagement point" that manual drivers always talk about. It's different in every car and you have to feel it.

On most cars you can ride this engagement point and the car will slowly start to move forward. You can then slowly start lifting your foot off the clutch entirely and bam, you're in first gear.

(mind you, riding engagement point like this is also known as "slipping the clutch" and isn't very good for a car, but at idle engine power, it's not going to kill anything and is certainly going to do less damage than the other kinds of slippage that learners do--mainly burning up the clutch by giving it too much gas while at the engagement point)

At any point doing this process, feel free to push the clutch back in and hit the brakes to stop the car, put it in neutral, catch your breath, etc.

You keep practicing that in the parking lot until it doesn't scare you anymore, then you start practicing giving it gas while letting the clutch out.

Learning like this seems to be a lot less scary than trying to teach people how to "give it enough gas" or what not right off the bat. So far I'm at a 4-for-4 success rate on this technique. Once people get a bit of a feel for the engagement point and then get first gear down they're usually fine for the rest.

Of course, there's a lot more to learn before you can drive sportingly, but that's the start of it all.
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Old 12-02-2005, 08:56 PM   #7
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This topic is interesting to me as I grew up in the UK and didn't really know about these *automatics* until I'd been driving for several years. There were actually different driving tests, if you passed in an auto you weren't allowed to drive a manual (stick).

Still, I digress. When I moved to the US 6 years ago we of course got an automatic, I've grown quite accustomed to it and apart from a Jeep for a few years all of our cars have been automatics, including my Boxster.

Let's put that in perspective though, I think in the US a manual is seen as much more "special" than it is elsewhere because of the prevalance of automatics. I wanted a Tiptronic Boxster becuase a lot of my driving would be commuting and yes, I'm a bit lazy. Having said that though it's like no other "automatic" I have ever driven. It can drivle along ant low revs, as mellow as a minivan but in a moment you can give it a poke and all that Porsche excitement is right there waiting for you. Switch to manual mode and it's even more fun!

So, before you decide you need to learn to drive a stick it may be worth taking a spin in a tiptronic, you never know, it may be just the car for you. There are those that'll frown upon the idea but, at the end of the day, we all buy what is right for us and our circumstances.

Just another angle to consider, good luck!

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Old 12-03-2005, 06:01 AM   #8
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Honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I would have bought a tiptronic. For all the reasons below.
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Old 12-03-2005, 06:34 AM   #9
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My wife wanted a Boxster from the moment she saw one years ago. The only problem, she never learned how to drive a manual. That presented a problem because in this household Porsche's only come with manual transmissions, I will not own an automatic Porsche. (sorry to all you tip owners but that's my rule). While it may seem narrow minded I firmly believe that Porsche's are drivers cars and to extract all of the pleasure from the car I need to be connected to it and that can only happen if I'm selecting the gears.

Now, I already had a 930 ('89 with the 5 speed G50) that she couldn't drive which presented problems if we decided to take the 930 on an outing and for some reason I was unable to drive. Taking all of this into account she decided to buy a GTI 5 speed to learn how to drive a stick. I still had my automatic F-150 Lightning so she still had something to drive while she learned but it took her less than 2 weeks to become capable of driving the stick and after 2 years she was ready for venture into a high performance ride. She finally got her Boxster 3 months ago and she's loving every minute of it and is now as understands my (and my friends) belief that real Porsche's don't have automatics.

This post isn't intended to denegrate anyone who owns a Tip Porsche. Just as everyone has reasons for owning a particular car these are mine. Of course I may have to eat my words it I decide to get a Pepper since they only come with the Tip .
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Old 12-03-2005, 06:58 AM   #10
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I beg to differ with all these fine posting members!

I think if you were to call a Porsche dealer and ask for the newest salesman on the floor, and tell him you'd like to buy a 5 or 6 speed boxster but need to learn how to drive it, he'd be more than happy to find a used car on the lot and take you out in it for a half hour to an hour and show you how to drive it.

If I was selling cars and hungry as a new salesman (which I was years ago) and that was the only thing keeping you from doing business with me, I'd invest the time, that's for sure.

It's worth a try!
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Old 12-03-2005, 07:22 AM   #11
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The first few Boxsters I test drove before buying mine were stick shifts. So when I finally came across a pristine one for well below market, I was a bit disheartened when I looked inside and saw it was an automatic. I drove it and played with the steering wheel shift buttons and decided that it was different enough to give it a try. I still agree that a stick is move fun to drive, but I'm not disappointed with the tip at all. It takes some getting used to, but you can come awfully close to the feel of a stick once you get the hang of the steering wheel shift buttons. And in heavy traffic it's a dream not to have to work the clutch and shifter constantly.

My next one will be a 6 speed. Let's see what the 550 special editions are selling for in a couple of years.
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Old 12-03-2005, 09:23 AM   #12
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it took me exactly 5 minutes to learn how to drive a manual transmission.
Getting good at it took much longer, especially when I only drove my car on the weekends.
Just my 2 cents, there is no better experience of driving a six speed manual transmission whith a 250 HP mid engine behind you. The pure drving experience is: Shift, throttle, steer and brake
I really am opposed to anything on a sports car that compromises those basic skills. Mercedes now has cruise control that will brake and accelerate for you.

try posting an ad on craig's list in your area under services. I'm sure someone would gladly teach you how to drive a stick shift for $50.

p.s. something that helped me was to deliberately stall the car a bunch of times to get used to the limit of how much you can lay off the clutch pedal before the engine shuts down. Learning to drive a stick shift is allot like racing, you have to be comfortable with what you are doing in the cockpit first. Thinking about what you are doing and trying to execute at the same time is very difficult unless you are at ease. Oh and get in the habit of always pusing the clutch pedal all teh way down before shifting. Not doing so "bozo clutching" will reduce the life of you clutch.
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Old 12-03-2005, 10:00 AM   #13
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When I was teaching my son to drive he was having a heck of a time figuring out how to get a stick shift car away from a stop without the familiar jerking, bucking, etc.
After pondering on the problem, and really thinking about what you do with the clutch, I advised him to let out the clutch until it reaches the hinge point, and then REDUCE the rate at which he was letting out the clutch.
Problem solved. If worked perfectly the first time he tried it, and he never had any more problem.
Stick shift training notwithstanding, if you would feel more comfortable with a Tiptronic car, get one. My car has a Tip and I have never regreted getting one. It sure is much easier, and in my opinion more enjoyable, to drive in metropolitan traffic.
There are some practical advantages as well, such as no clutch to replace periodically, and less liklihood of experiencing the dread RMS (rear main seal) oil leak problem.
After driving the Tipper for a couple of years I would not go out of my way to get another one, but neither would I avoid an otherwise good car just because it had the Tip.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:15 AM   #14
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Thanks for the great advice all! I will print this out and refer to it while in the cockpit! If I get the practice in on a rental in time, I will be in Orlando over the New Year (Go Badgers!) so I might as well rent one and get some early Porsche experience before my test drive! Thanks again for the great tips!
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Old 12-06-2005, 06:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asnigro
Thanks for the great advice all! I will print this out and refer to it while in the cockpit! If I get the practice in on a rental in time, I will be in Orlando over the New Year (Go Badgers!) so I might as well rent one and get some early Porsche experience before my test drive! Thanks again for the great tips!
I just taught my 17 year old daughter to drive a stick. It took exactly 2.5 hours and suddenly something clicked and she got it. I learned myself on a '66 VW bug. Don't really remember exactly how long it took but I bought the car and learned from scratch. Rather then rent a car take a couple driver training lessons with a stick and a teacher. Shouldn't take anymore than that. Once you learn on to drive a stick your will not want to drive anything else for a long time. I can't keep my daughter out of our Cooper S. I fall asleep driving an automatic. My two cents.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:00 AM   #16
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one other thought (and I read the threads too quickly, sorry if this was already in there)

Go to a driver training school. the same ones that teach high school kids to drive for the forst time. most will have a stick car to teach in for those who want to learn stick. A couple of lessons should have you snapped in.
This may have an advantage over learning in the Porsche. Everyone who learns stick, like me when I leared, is going to go through the routine jerk starts, choking off and re-starting, mild panic when caught starting up a steep hill in traffic - whereas all of these things are do-able in the classroom environment of a driving school, with a trained instructor in the car with you. The costs are nominal - I sent both of my kids to schools.

Lastly, don't toss out the idea of an automatic. Years ago, autos were indeed slower and clunkier. But technology in just the last decade has lept ahead. Michael Schumaker in his Ferrari has an auto that shifts faster and better than humans could ever hope to. The recent Porsches are very good. Audi has some excellent 2 clutch autos that raising the bar (watch for the new VW GTI coming in Feb.!). I'm a stick shift driver since my first VW in 1968, but during my search for the Boxster I considered a Tip, and will consider hi-perf autos on all new purchases because the technology is finally here to equal sticks.

Similar to digital cameras - the first ones were humble, but now all the pros shoot digital. The technology moved on and so did I. The new auto tansmissions have arrived.
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Old 01-25-2006, 03:23 PM   #17
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i actually drive my boxster out of dealership w/o any physical experience of how to drive a stick...........it was scary but exciting !!!
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Old 01-25-2006, 04:39 PM   #18
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i actually drive my boxster out of dealership w/o any physical experience of how to drive a stick...........it was scary but exciting !!!
I did the same thing with my first car after college a number of years ago. Scary but exciting sums it up. However, mine was an Acura Integra and you're doing it with a Boxster. You a braver person than me! Have fun but be careful. Practice for those stoplights on the hills!
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Old 01-26-2006, 08:03 AM   #19
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I also bought my first boxster without any stick experience. I had a friend drive it home for me (Orlando to Tampa) and then waited until about 2am to take it on on my neighborhood roads. Yes, I stalled alot that night. But it was a no traffic (and thus no pressure) situation. If you go slow you really can't hurt the car. As has been mentioned above, the key is to get the feel of the engagement point. Once you get it rolling, shifting up the rest of the gears is pretty easy. Anyway, after my night on neighborhood streets, a friend who is big into autoX gave me some tips in the empty parking lot of the community college. The third time I drove it was to work in rush hour traffic. As mentioned above, TERRIFYING but definitely exciting. Now, I won't say I was an expert after 3 times, but I could get the car from point A to point B. Just understand that you will stall a few times and when it happens not to panic but just restart the car and move along. Sure it's embarrassing, especially in heavy traffic, but remember, YOU'RE the one driving the porsche!

My two cents on the Tip vs Manual debate: As someone who uses my boxster as a daily driver I can completely understand the advantages of a Tip. However, after having driven an automatic all of my life (including my first, a '68 Firebird with a 2-speed powerglide), I wanted to learn how to drive a stick. What I have found is that it forces you to focus on driving and this enhances the experience for me. Sure it can be a pain in stop and go. But you also get thrills at other times that you just can't get from putting it in drive and hitting the gas. And, it makes you more aware of what is going on around you, which is even more important with an increasing amount of drivers using the luxury of automatic to focus on other things (cell phones, makeup, etc) instead of concentrating on the road.
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Old 01-26-2006, 10:21 AM   #20
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Well I wouldn't want to go into a dealership and not know how to drive stick. I want to test drive the car before I buy it and I am sure that wouldnt go over well with the salesman, me stalling and grinding the heck out of the gears.

As for the Tiptronic option, from pictures, it looks like you can have the car in 'M' versus 'D' (is this true?). Is it only when the car is in 'M' do you have to press the buttons on the steering wheel, and when in 'D' it is just a normal automatic?

It also seems that you run into less "overall problems" with the Tip as there is less to break versus a manual transmission(read that in a previous post).

It also takes me around 4 minutes to drive to work here in IL, so traffic really isnt a problem.

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